**Bolangir:** BJP national president Amit Shah was seen taking food at the house of a poor Dalit man, Maheswar Suna in Deogaon under Saintala of Bolangir district during his two day visit to Odisha. It seems that the Dalits do not need social acceptance, but these politicians are in need of acceptance in their houses, therefore these designs to eat with them are planned out.
The hosts Maheswar Suna and his wife Gomati Suna were elated to have such a prestigious guest.
“I felt as if the Lord has come to my place and had food. Amitji had potato bhaja, chana bhaja, curry, saga, neem phool, etc. It seems as if my prayers were answered. The ambience was more than a marriage party in my house. I am overjoyed, and he also was happy,” said an elated Gomati.
Whereas Amit Shah’s visit was preceded by cleanliness drive in the locality, with the house of Maheswar Suna decorated as if there is wedding in his home. There was a tent covered in the courtyard of the house, with an engraving at the entrance of his house, “Amit Shahji, Welcome” and a beautiful painting of a lotus.
As the lady of the house came forward to welcome the BJP national president by the age-old custom of washing the feet of the revered guest, he did not deem it necessary to open his sandals and the Dalit woman only poured water in front of his feet as a token of washing his feet.
He along with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, , BJP legislature party leader KV Singhdeo, former Bolangir MP Sangeeta Singhdeo, Odisha BJP President Basant Panda and several other leaders were then ushered in the house, where they were served about a dozen delicacies, in newly prepared leaf plates.
“This luncheon is a farce. It is just a political gimmick to woo the voters, as if he is showing sympathy on our conditions. The preparations made before his visit, the putting on a tent, the variety of dishes served, and most importantly, it was served by Brahmins. So why these farce that they are having food at a Dalit’s place. If he has food in a poor man’s place, it is a good move but to tap the media, he is playing with the ‘Dalit’ card, we are against it,” said Lalit Mahananda, Social Activist and Dalit Leader, Bolangir.
“Maheswar Suna never has so many delicacies in his lunch. He eats his rice with only salt. So this show of tents and variety of food is just a farce. They have given Rs 10,000 to Maheswar to just prepare for this lunch. Those who have never worked for the benefits or development of Dalits now come and show their sympathy towards us by eating in a Dalit’s house, is strongly condemned by our Association,” he further added.
In May 2017, BJP national president Amit Shah had asked the party colleagues to follow the ‘lunch gimmick’ vigorously. Uttar Pradesh’s CM Yogi Adityanath dined with 500 Dalits in Gorakhpur to spread message of no caste discrimination. Shah and Rajasthaan CM Vasundhare Raje were seen eating at a Dalit’s home who was described as a diligent party worker.
Earlier, Union Minister for Urban Development and Information & Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu was seen having food at the Salia Sahi slums in Bhubaneswar during Modi fest in 2017. He was accompanied by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Interestingly, the food was prepared in accordance with the taste-buds of Naidu.
Earlier, Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and Union Rural Development Minister Ramkripal Yadav had food and rest at the house of a Dalit family in Gajapati district.
When BJP leader Ram Bilas Paswan had his food at a Dalit party worker’s house in Rohtak, there were allegations that the food was cooked by professional chefs and checked by doctors before being transported to the Dalit’s place.
Similar flak was faced by former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa when he had breakfast with a Dalit family. It was alleged that food was brought from a restaurant for hhim.
Not only BJP, but parties of all shades have taken up this gimmick to woo the dalit comm.;unity. It was initiated by Indidra Gandhi, subsequently followed by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
This age-old practice of ‘lunch drama politics’ in which a dine-with-the-downtrodden strategy is taken up to reach and tap the dalit votes during elections.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi had sweets at a poor Dalit’s home in 2011, which was highly criticised in the media. In 2016, he repeated it again by visiting a poor Dalit family with Gulam Nabi Azad. But he had only roti and potato chokha, which was all the family could afford, in stark contrast to Amit Shah’s today visit to the Dalit man Maheswar Suna’s house.
Also Read: [Amit Shah Promises Odisha Development Under BJP Rule](http://www.ommcomnews.com/public/amit-shah-promises-odisha-development-under-bjp-rule)